|The Role of the Bar and the Bench in the Consolidation of Democratic Rule in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, 1999–2007
|Ajayi, David Olayinka
|West Bohemian Historical Review. 2023, no. 1, p. 97-112.
|Západočeská univerzita v Plzni
|Nigerijské soudnictví;soudní aktivismus;volební spory;vojenské pravidlo;Nigérijská čtvrtá republika
|Keywords in different language:
|Nigerian judiciary;judicial activism;electoral disputes;military rule;Nigeria’s Fourth Republic
|Abstract in different language:
|There is a unique relationship between the bar (lawyers) and the bench (judges) that exists in no other profession. However, this relationship is fraught with the hazards of tempers that sometimes seethe in the stormy billows of the courtroom and of antagonisms that occasionally arise from the loss that must, inevitably, be sustained by one side as every legal battle ends. Yet, the desirable future of a nation may well depend on the proper balancing of such relationship and upon an understanding by the lawyer and the judge that without mutual assistance and respect of each toward the other neither can carry out his assigned role, despite great learning and dedication to duty. In the dispensation of justice, the role of the bar and the bench is intertwined and remains very crucial. In Nigeria, however, the bar and the bench, unlike their counterparts in developed climes, operate in a different normative realm that exerts enormous pressures on them to respond, not just to the traditional demands for legal services, but also to the nation’s desire for social equilibrium, political stability and democratic consolidation. Therefore, after decades of brutal military dictatorship and a brief spell of civil rule, this paper critically examines the role of the bar and the bench in the consolidation of democratic rule, especially in the arbitration of electoral disputes, from the inception of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic in 1999, to 2007, when the country witnessed the first successful civilian-to-civilian transition in her political history. The paper argues that since the attainment of political independence in 1960, up to 1999, the image of the bar and the bench have been soiled as a result of their role in the adjudication of electoral disputes. It posits that since the return of multi-party democracy in 1999, the bar and the bench have continued to play an increasingly assertive role as arbiters in the country’s democratic politics in general and its electoral disputes specifically. It concludes that even though the country is yet to enthrone a flawless framework for electoral justice, the increasing reliance of political stakeholders on the courts to decide electoral disputes and issues of public interest has led to a gradual reinforcement of the integrity and confidence in the bar and the bench as impartial arbiters and vital instruments of political stability and democratic consolidation.
|© Západočeská univerzita v Plzni
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|Číslo 1 (2023)
Číslo 1 (2023)
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